I had 20 minutes to spare this morning on my way to a meeting so I stopped at the Auchernack Burn. The Auchernack Burn is regarded as the source of the invasive and troublesome Ranunculus which grows profusely in the Spey from the confluence of the burn downstream. Of course the hand of man was involved and it is rumoured to have spread from a garden pond in the 1970s.
I was interested to see if there was still Ranunculus present in the burn. It didn’t take long to confirm that there was; it was present in abundance wherever there was sufficient light.
Plans to investigate the feasibility of manual removal of Ranunculus from the upper section of the Spey mainstem have been discussed but maybe that approach should be tested in the Auchernack Burn first? Four people could probably clear the burn in a couple sessions wearing wellies. Monitoring the success or otherwise of manual removal would be straightforward in such a small burn.
In the meantime and in conjunction with the Dee and Don Trusts, SEPA and SNH we hope to trial the efficacy of the herbicide Roundup along with a sticking agent on Ranunculus in the River Don this summer. If successful we would hope in due course to develop protocols and secure licencing procedures for use in rivers such as the Spey but we are not yet at that stage.There will be news on this in due course.